On the world Ranadon there is no night as both suns shine brightly. The intervention of Belagren, High Priestess of the Shadowdancers, and the sacrifice of a child of royal blood, has banished the Age of Shadows from the skies. Belagren's position is unquestioned . . . until circumstances begin to tip political rivalries into a deadlier game altogether.
A volcanic eruption rocks the seas separating the Kingdom of Dhevyn and the mainland Kingdom of Senet, and a mysterious sailor is shipwrecked on the island of Elcast. Badly wounded, his arrival stirs up old hatreds and unravels old secrets. His presence is enough to even bring Antonov, the powerful Lion of Senet, to the island and fear to the Keep of the Duke of Elcast.
A strong friendship develops between Dirk, second son of the Duke, and Kirshov Latanya, second son of the Lion of Senet. But will they, and their friendship, survive the chain of events set in motion by the ambitions of the ruthless High Priestess of the Shadowdancers and the domineering Lion of Senet?
This first book of the Second Sons Trilogy establishes Jennifer Fallon as one of the most unique voices in fantasy fiction, as she creates full characters, and takes intelligent plotting to a whole new level in order to establish unparalleled complexity and tension.?
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
March 29, 2004
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from The Lion of Senet by Jennifer Fallon
From the top of the cliffs the world appeared bathed in blood. The dawn was ruddy, stained crimson by the red sun as it began to set in the west, chased out of the sky by the larger, brighter, yellow sun on the eastern horizon. The scarlet clouds hung heavy and thick and tasted of ash. There had been an eruption somewhere, Tia realized, as she stopped to study the view. No wonder Neris had gone missing. Eruptions always had that effect on him.
The heat was oppressive, despite the overcast sky. On this world with two suns, it never truly cooled down.
Except during the Age of Shadows.
Tia wiped the sweat from her brow and looked down toward the river. From the cliff top the delta spread out before her; a confused network of channels and sandbars constantly shifting with the moods of the fickle Spakan River. The water was muddy and sluggish; it reminded her of a series of veins and arteries, bleeding into the lighter waters of the Bandera Straits. There was little vegetation. The line of smoking volcanoes that marred the northern horizon spewed out their smothering ash often enough to ensure that everything struggled to survive here in the Baenlands. To the west, Tia could just make out the patchwork fields where their few crops fought to thrive in the ash-choked soil, and beyond them the fields of Ranadon poppies, the only thing that grew around Mil with any enthusiasm.
Behind her, a few faint wisps of thin smoke from the houses of the settlement drifted upward, hanging motionless in the still air for a moment before being swallowed by the cumbrous clouds.
The silence was complete. Even the wind that normally howled through the delta had taken a moment to catch its breath. Tia looked along the rim of the cliff to her left. In the distance she could just make out Neris, perched perilously close to the edge.
With a sigh, she began to walk toward him, making no attempt to hide her approach. She didn't want to startle him.
It took her nearly half an hour's walk over the rough, stony ground to reach the man perched on the edge of the precipice. The solitary figure did not move as she neared. His hair hung long and untended down his back, and it looked like he'd been wearing the same shirt for a month. For a brief, irreverent moment, Tia was glad that there was no breeze. He wasn't a pleasant creature to be downwind of when he was like this. He was sitting cross-legged on the cliff top as if he was carved from the rock itself.
Neris knew she was there. He was mad, but he wasn't deaf.
"Have you ever noticed," the madman remarked as she came up behind him, "that the only time we get truly spectacular sunrises is when there's been trouble somewhere? There's a moral in that, I think."
"What do you mean?" Tia asked cautiously. Although he sounded rational, she knew him too well to be fooled.
"It's like life," he mused. "If nothing bad ever happened, you would have perfect skies every day, and you'd be bored witless. But this . . ." he said, waving his arm to encompass the magnificent, fiery skies, "this comes from a disaster. Somewhere out there, the Goddess has spoken."
Tia halted in her approach. It was never a good sign when Neris began to speak of the Goddess. "It's just a volcano, Neris."
"The Goddess has spoken."
"You don't believe that."
The madman shrugged. "It doesn't really matter whether I believe it or not. Millions of people all over the world will climb out of bed this morning and look at this sky and think the Goddess is trying to tell them something."
He was right, Tia knew, but she didn't want him dwelling on it. That line of thought was just a step away from Neris recalling his own contribution to what people believed about the Goddess and that was an extremely dangerous thing, particularly as he was sitting on the edge of a cliff with a drop of some eight hundred feet below him.
"People choose to believe or not believe," she shrugged. "If they want to have faith in a stupid myth, that's their problem, not yours."
Neris turned to look at her. Dark hollow circles ringed his eyes, his pupils were contracted, his eyes unnaturally bright. He was high on poppy-dust, she realized, which meant he might stay calm for a while, or he might fall into the depths of depression, or he might suddenly launch himself off the cliff in the mistaken belief that he could fly.
For a fleeting moment, she wished she'd thought to bring Reithan along. Reithan was much better at dealing with Neris than she was. Tia was too impatient, too angry.
"What is faith?" Neris asked.
"I don't know."
"Which is why you'll never understand the power of the Goddess and her minions."